Back-to-back drought years and moving cattle enables spread of trichomoniasis to new areas.
The days of trichomoniasis being known as a western states problem may be coming to an end. With consecutive drought years throughout many of the cow/calf-producing parts of the country, trich is being found in new areas, including states like Iowa and Missouri, and cattlemen are suffering from its impact.
Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease carried by bulls and transferred to healthy cows, resulting in early embryonic death or abortion. Historically, trich was a problem in the western United States where multiple herds, under multiple management practices, ran together on public land. When drought hit those areas, cattle moved into states like Texas, Nebraska and South Dakota — and took trichomoniasis with them. According to Dr. Doug Ensley, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., this situation is repeating itself.
“Last year with the drought in Texas and Oklahoma, people were looking for places to send cows, while other parts of the country could buy cows because they had grass and rain,” Dr. Ensley says. “Some of those cows moved out of Texas and, because trich doesn’t have many clinical signs, people put them right in with the cow herd. Now we’re seeing positive cows, and the same goes for bulls. Trich-positive bulls were moving out of Texas and into states like Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa.”
Preventing trichomoniasis from entering your herd or controlling its spread takes a multi-faceted approach. Recommended strategies include:
- Annually test all bulls and cull any bulls that test positive.
- Only buy virgin bulls or bulls that have tested negative for trich.
- Consider expanding your artificial insemination program to reduce the need for bulls.
- Properly maintain all fencing where neighboring herds could come in contact.
For herds that have bulls identified as trich-positive, have difficulty getting all bulls tested, purchase older bulls, or are in an area where multiple herds may run together, Dr. Ensley recommends adding TrichGuard® to the herd health protocol.
“I have actually seen some herds in trich situations in which they’ve had 40 to 45 percent pregnancy or calving rate, when they’ve traditionally had an 85 or 90 percent pregnancy rate,” he says. “I think TRICHGUARD is a nice tool to help improve breeding rates affected by trichomoniasis and get you going back in the right direction with reproduction.”
Dr. Ensley also encourages producers to think beyond their own herd.
“You really have to look at your whole management practice, as well as your neighbor's,” he says. “I hate to pit neighbor against neighbor, but you have to think about that herd across the fence. They may not have the same management practices you do, so you should be prepared in case they have a positive bull that could jump the fence.”
TRICHGUARD is available for trichomoniasis coverage alone, or for protection against both vibrio and five-way leptospirosis. To learn how you can make TRICHGUARD part of your trichomoniasis prevention plan, contact your herd veterinarian or Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. representative, or visit Bi-Vetmedica.com/TrichGuard.